Solar heating systems installed on California commercial pools will now qualify for the state’s current solar rebate incentive program. Governor Jerry Brown has just signed into law Assembly Bill 2249, an expansion on the Solar Water heating and Efficiency Act of 2007. The Act tasked the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) with the design and implementation of a program of incentives for solar water heating systems throughout the state. The bill, which had previously excluded swimming pools from eligibility under the program, redefines “solar water heating systems” to include solar pool heating systems at multifamily residential, governmental, educational, and nonprofit facilities.

Sacramento, CA – October 10, 2012 - Aquatherm Industries, U.S. manufacturer of solar pool heaters, applauds the California State Legislature’s successes in the introduction and subsequent passing of a Bill that will qualify commercial pool facilities to earn a rebate for the installation of a solar pool heating system.“Swimming pools at businesses such as hotels, resorts, apartment complexes, homeowners associations, health clubs, camps, water parks, and schools often have no choice but to keep their pools at a comfortable temperature,” says Dave Sizelove, President & CEO of Aquatherm. “This makes commercial pools perfect candidates for solar pool heating systems. Solar can provide a clean, domestic and affordable way to reduce the monthly energy bill for heating these facilities. It’s been said, ‘As California goes, so goes the country.’ We certainly hope that the California program will serve as a roadmap for other States to follow in the future.” Having passed the California State Legislature in early September, Assembly Bill Number 2249 (AB2249) – which will extend eligibility for solar thermal incentives to public and semi-private commercial swimming pool solar heating– has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. The California Solar Energy Industry Association (CalSEIA) was instrumental in aiding the state Legislature’s efforts to introduce and pass the bill.As part of the larger California Solar Initiative Thermal program, AB2249 is an amendment to the existing Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007. The Act tasked the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) with the design and implementation of a program of incentives for the installation of 200,000 solar water heating systems in homes and businesses throughout the state by 2017.While the exact amount of the rebate has not yet been determined, early estimates among the industry indicate it will be between 35 and 50% of the cost of the system. Since performance of solar thermal systems is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs), actual rebate figures will be determined by a price per averted therm.Though the Act specifically had excluded solar pool heaters in its definition of eligible solar water heating systems, AB2249 expands the current definition to include “multifamily residential, governmental, educational, and nonprofit solar pool heating systems.” Single-family residential solar pool heating systems will continue to be excluded from the definition, and consequently, the rebate program.According to PK Data – which keeps statistics on the U.S. pool industry – there are over 186,000 heated commercial pools nationwide (approximately 45,000 in California – the most of any state). Of these pools, approximately 39%, or 115,540 are indoor; meaning they must be heated twelve months per year. Most of these pools are heated with fossil fuels such as natural gas, propane, or heat pumps. This increases the U.S. dependence on imported fuels and pollutes the air. Assuming natural gas is used to heat these pools, the annual load of 261 trillion BTU’s is the equivalent CO2 of 6.6 millions of cars on the road per year.

Based on the findings of the Legislature, “solar water heating systems represent the largest untapped natural gas saving potential remaining in California. The state is heavily dependent on natural gas, importing more than 80 percent of the natural gas it consumes. Water heating for domestic and industrial use relies almost entirely on natural gas and accounts for a significant percentage of the state’s natural gas consumption. Rising worldwide demand for natural gas and a shrinking supply create rising and unstable prices that can harm California consumers and the economy. Lastly, growing demand for these technologies will create jobs in California as well as promote greater energy independence, protect consumers from rising energy costs, and result in cleaner air.”

Aquatherm Industries is the largest manufacturer of solar pool heating systems in the United States, the only U.S. manufacturer of NSF listed solar pool heaters, and the only U.S. solar collector manufacturer to achieve the ISO 9001:2008 quality standard. Aquatherm manufactures several of the industry’s leading brands of solar pool heating collectors, including the Solar Industries and Ecosun collectors.

Aquatherm’s entire manufacturing process takes place at its 50,000-square foot technology center in Lakewood, NJ – the most modern facility of its kind in the world. For more information on Aquatherm Industries, its products or its dealer network, contact Molly Friar, Aquatherm’s Sales & Marketing Manager at 1-800-535-6307, extension 226.

 

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